The Internship Review

Wedding Crashers hits Google.

The weirdest thing about this movie is I didn’t hate it.  I have heard nothing but how awful it is from a bunch of other reviewers and I went in with my bile gun loaded for bear, but by the end of it I found myself kind of having fun watching it.  It was like going in for a horrible root canal only to find the dentist is extremely generous with the anaesthesia and is a super hot, well endowed brunette who likes to lean in close while working, if you know what I mean.

That’s not to say this film is necessarily good.  It’s derivative of other films in the same way saying a photocopy is derivative of the original document.  Anyone remember the movies Meatballs, Revenge of the Nerds, Big, Sleeper, and Old School?  Vince Vaughn sure does, and “borrowed” heavily from all of them while writing this film with Jared Stern.  The formulaic and predictable story caged in Vince and Owen Wilson’s comedic ability, and for the most part the film was chained down with too many straight men (or women).  Having the middle aged main guys surrounded by 20 year olds and yet are still the wild ones was more than a little disconnected, and there was an underlying message about how hard it is for current college graduates to find work that was kind of a bummer.

Yet all that aside I found myself laughing a lot.  Of course I had a lot of personal connections to the film that most of you would probably be missing.  First of all I live in the Bay Area and have any number of friends who work at Google, so the environment they portrayed made a lot of sense.  Whenever they showed a scene in San Francisco or Palo Alto I could thing “Hey, I had a friend who puked on that corner”, which always improves a personal connection.  Also the job that the main characters were doing at the beginning of the film (manufacturers rep) I have done myself for most of my life and I have worked for agencies exactly like the one they showed, so I could see a lot of humor that others might not.

This film also serves as some kind of Google marketing ploy, but what message it is supposed to impart I don’t know.  On the one hand they seem to be showing Google as the coolest, most fun place to work in the world and all the employees are infused with “Googliness” (a term that comes up more times than it should in this film.  More times=more than zero IMO) and a desire to make the world a better place with answers to questions like “do midgets have night vision?”.  On the other hand the film seems dedicated to showing Google employees as the biggest dorks in the history of dorkdom (this is coming from as big a dork as you will ever meet in your lifetime) and the whole company as so bogged down with nerd culture and hippy dippy bull that you wonder how they can successfully turn on the light switch without falling down and breaking something.  Kind of a mixed message. By the way, based on how much I pay every month for Google AdWords, I can tell you they are not not interested in making money.

The film starts off with Billy (Vince Vaughn-Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and Nick (Owen Wilson-Zoolander, Midnight in Paris, Drillbit Taylor) working as sales reps when they find out their boss (John Goodman-Argo, Monsters Inc, the Big Lebowski) just closed down the company.  They are desperate for work (at one point Nick takes a job with his brother-in-law, played hilariously by the great Will Ferrell).  While looking for work Billy managed to sign them up for an internship with Google.  They are accepted for the thinnest of reasons and relocate to California.

Once there they are literally the odd men out.  They are insulted by their intern nemesis Graham (Max Minghella-the Ides of March, Art School Confidential, the Social Network) and are teamed up with the rest of the cliche rejects; an over achieving Asian guy (Tobit Raphael-no other credits), a wannabe geek slut (Tiya Sircar-Friends with Benefits, Hotel for Dogs, 17 Again), a depressive hipster anti-socialite (Dylan O’Brian-The High Road, Teen Wolf, the First Time), and the nerd team leader Lyle (Josh Brener-Big Bang Theory, the Condom Killer, Glory Days).  Nick also meets his super hot but over worked love interest Dana (Rose Byrne-Get Him to the Greek, 28 Weeks Later, X-Men First Class).

They are then injected into an Apprentice style competition with the other teams and thanks to Billy and Nick start loosing pretty badly.  Billy managed to get the team to bond during a game of Quidditch (no joke.  By the way, I don’t care how geeky you are no one on this planet would ever choose to be Hufflepuff).  At that point if you have ever seen Meetballs you can pretty much predict where this movie is going, only with less sex, camping, and actual physical activity.  Billy and Nick take the team to a PG strip club.  They meet a guy who looks a lot like Professor X.

The stars.  Funny moments, and if you are looking for a lesson in the value of teamwork and fair play look no further.  One star.  I’m not a huge Owen Wilson fan, but I like Vince Vaughn and his chemistry with Owen is a winning combination (actually I liked Owen a lot in Zoolander).  One star.  I would risk serious bodily harm and/or death to have dinner with Rose Byrne, and Tiya Sircar is pretty easy on the eyes.  One star.  The team, while all plucked from the Tree of Cliches, were all different, decently written, and managed to contribute to the film.  One star.  I like the guy in charge of the interns (Aasif Mandvi-the Last Airbender, Spiderman 2, Dictator) a lot.  In fact all the supporting actors were pretty good.  One star.  The cameo by Will Ferrell was pretty good.  One star.  Overall entertaining.  One star.  Total: seven stars.

The black hole.  Not particularly original.  One black hole.  The whole film was pretty clearly either bankrolled by Google or the writers have a secret love obsession with it.  They couldn’t have painted Google to be cooler or neater if they wrote in a device that turned raw sewage from the Google campus into life giving ambrosia.  One black hole.  The movie felt long and stretched.  It could have lost about 20 of the 119 minutes without losing much.  One black hole.  Total: three black holes.

So four stars.  Not awesome, but I don’t feel like I wasted my time.  You might not get so much out of it if you are not really familiar with Google and/or being a sales rep, but overall you will probably enjoy it.  There is nothing here requiring a big screen so feel free to NetFlix it.  Date movie?  Sure, why not.  It’s cute, feels good, and not a lot of serious competition in the hot man department unless your date has a thing for blond guys with broken noses.  Bathroom break?  There is a scene towards the last 1/3rd where the team is trying to sell Google advertizing to a pizza restaurant and failing that doesn’t add a lot to the story.  Go then.

Thanks for reading.  I’m seeing Man of Steel in about 40 minutes so look for that review tomorrow (Man of Steel image courtesy of the Superman T Shirt category).  Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu.  If you have comments on this film or review feel free to post them here.  If you have off topic questions, suggestions, or are Rose Byrne looking for a dinner date (I can promise you won’t be bored, Rose) email me at david@nerdkungfu.com.  Thanks and have a great day.

Dave

 


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